Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Government Shutdown

If your like me you're trying to figure out what's open and what's closed with this government shut down.  I contacted the USDA and they were closed yesterday. The voice mail said they were out of the office no return date set and they will not be checking email or voice mail while on furlough.  However, I am still getting mail every day. Both are Federal departments of the United States Government.

So here is a condensed list of what's what:

USPS, otherwise known as MAIL, still continues to be delivered.  The reason for this is because the USPS does not receive money from taxes it is funded by its own income producing sources, like postage for example.

National Parks and National Museums, are all closed.  This has a trickle effect on the economy.  If you are located in the eastern part of the state, for example, it is peak season for tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of the beautiful fall foliage.  However if you wanted to stay in a state park you may have cancelled your trip and other local businesses are losing out because your are not there to eat at their diner or shop at their gift shop.

Air Travel, thankfully Air Traffic Controllers and airport security  are not on furlough... can you imagine?? Unbelievably though, federal plane INSPECTORS are on furlough as well as some aircraft repair stations. The International Embassy's are still open and passports and visas are still being processed.  Again because fees are generated from these directly.

If you collect social security, unemployment or medicare you are still receiving your benefits. Federal courts continue to operate for the time being, however non essential personnel could be furloughed if the issues at hand are not resolved quickly. Women Infants and Children (WIC), Food Stamps and school lunch program only has enough funding to make it through October it has been reported and they may cease at that time.

Another department that is experiencing the shutdown directly is the Food Safety Division.  If a recall or outbreak occurs the department said they could handle it but the people who investigate the outbreaks are on furlough! There won't be any inspectors visiting anytime in the near future either to be sure your facility is clean.  However, Meat inspectors still continue to be in meat packing plants every day, as required by law.

Military, Law Enforcement, Homeland Security, Prisons, NASA, National Weather Service are still pretty much operating as normal, some non essential employees have been furloughed.

Loans - If you are trying to purchase a home you can expect a delay and if the shutdown continues it will be worse.  The reason is that they banks require tax data.   Unfortunately the IRS will not be processing any taxes or conducting audits during the shutdown. The applications for FHA mortgages and government loans for small businesses have been shut down.

So that's the abbreviated version.  If you have questions I would suggest calling the IRS or the department in question, but in most cases you won't get any answer.  If you try going to many of the links I provided, same thing.  Sorry were closed.

Here is a link that does work to get some more detailed information on the departments and programs affected by the shutdown and those that remain open.  You also can go to:  http://www.usa.gov/

Visit us on the web at www.tiains.com.

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